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GP Week : Issue 164
23 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: seconds back in third place. Lewis had been perfect in all departments; Kimi, in his final two stints, had taken 12 seconds out of Lewis’ lead. That, I guess, is “near-perfect” . Red Bull Racing finished fourth and eighth: Seb qualified third but, like the two Ferrari drivers, did so with only one (late) run in Q3. Had Romain done the same – RBR could have argued – Seb would have qualified on the front row, only 0.15 slower than Lewis. Both Lewis and Romain found considerable pace on their second sets, however – so P3 it was for Seb. (Possibly as a pre-cursor to that, Mark couldn’t find any extra pace on a new set of options in Q2.). Even that could have been okay. Problem was, Seb made a great start and thus tried to pass Romain around the outside at Turn One. Romain legitably did to Seb what Kimi would later do to Romain...and, in the loss of momentum, Seb was nicely passed around the outside at Turn Two by the superclean Mr Jenson Button. From Seb’s point of view, his race was then effectively over, even though Jenson did fall away in the post-pit stop traffic. Unable even to think of passing Romain in the closing stages, however, Seb threw the dice with a late-race stop for another set of tyres. He didn’t lose position; and, besides, there was also the chance that everyone else’s Pirellis would ‘fall off the cliff’. It’s been that sort of year. Under those circumstances, I think Fernando will have been delighted with his fifth place. His was the sort of tough, gritty – but silky-smooth - drive that wins World Championships. Spa and Monza will be much more to Ferrari’s liking – and Fernando loves Singapore, of course, so August for him will not be too frustrating. Indeed, he now leads the Drivers’ World Championship by the margin of 40 points (rather than the gap of 34 he had after Hockenheim). And massive credit, in my view, is due to Bruno Senna, who had his best race since Malaysia after being quick all weekend. His was a seventh place earned the hard way – under pressure and pushing aggressively when tyre temperatures were always on the limit. Pastor Maldonado looked good, too – only to lose time at the start and then again to fall foul of the Stewards – this time for locking his brakes and running wide while attempting to pass Paul di Resta. Thus ends Part One of F1, 2012. It’s tight and it’s tense – which is why Fernando Alonso currently heads the table. Expect McLaren to be much more consistent in Part Two; expect more wins from Red Bull; and expect LotusF1 to win a race, for one day they’ll be able to co-ordinate a great qualifying lap (as driven by Romain) with a great race (as driven by Kimi). Expect a nail-biter of a 2012 finale. For more of Windsor on F1 watch The Flying Lap live every week on http://smibs.tv F1 >>> BUDAPEST